My Farthing Wood Friend does not seem to care about the Olympics.
Well, I say he doesn’t care; that’s maybe not true. He probably has some interest in it, and he’s definitely not an Olympophobe. It’s more that even on a Sunday afternoon when Olympians are everywhere, he’s happy to wander away from the tellybox and watch things that don’t involve lycra.
When I asked him about the first Olympics that he remembered, he looked at me blankly and then went “I don’t know. Sydney maybe?” (Sydney? SYDNEY? He was 13 at Sydney! He should definitely at least remember Atlanta.)
And this is a very strange thing for me to encounter, because I am now and always have been a complete Olympics nut. I blagged my way into being a BT Storyteller purely because I wrote an overenthusiastic application form which was basically the written equivalent of standing there and yelling “OLYMPICS! MEDALS! GYMNASTICS! EEEEEE!”.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of running in circles round the back garden with my siblings as we played Barcola Limpics (as my then two year old sister loved to call it). I’ve been obsessed since the days of Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell and for a brief period in the early 90s I really did think that I would definitely become an Olympic gymnast/runner/swimmer.
Then I realised that I have no upper body strength, no speed or stamina, and spent all my year 4 swimming lessons performing a weird breaststroke which just sent me backwards.
And so since then, I’ve just had to put up with being an insanely enthusiastic spectator. So enthusiastic, in fact, that during the Beijing games I developed a weird obsession with dressage and spent a good week trying to convince a (male) coursemate that it was actually amazing (“it’s like horses doing ballet!” was, I believe, the crux of my argument). I paused my entire life for the 100m final. I even took to watching women’s weightlifting in the middle of the night.
This may have had something to do with the fact that I was in the middle of my MA dissertation.
And now the Olympics are in London. Actual London. That’s where I am. This is INSANELY EXCITING and of course necessitates extensive planning so I can make sure I’m really taking advantage of the BBC’s incredible Olympics coverage to see as much sport as I possibly can. Even the dressage.
My Farthing Wood Friend does not seem to understand this.
In fairness, he’s been very good and hasn’t tried to stop me from watching any of the things I have on my schedule. He’s just looked at me in a slightly bewildered fashion – like perhaps I have been possessed by some kind of overenthusiastic sporting demon – and left me to it. Every now and then he’ll call through to the front room to make sure that I’m yelling at the TV and not at some murderer who’s just climbed in the window, but other than that he mostly stays out of my way. Which is probably wise.
So at the moment we’re doing OK. And so long as I resist the urge to stay up all night watching replays (CAN’T SLEEP. There’s sport on!) then we should stay that way.
And if not, he might just need to give me a sedative.